On Friday 22 September 2023, Dr Sergio Bran was sentenced after pleading guilty to criminal charges brought on the basis of causing avoidable harm to patients. Whilst Dr Bran has accepted and been convicted of criminal activity, there are also a number of cases where there may be civil liability due to medical negligence. The exact number at this time is unknown.
However, given the length of his employment with SHG and the number of patients he treated, SHG recognises that there may well be a significant number of persons who will consider seeking to make a claim for damages relating to the treatment they received, and who may have claims for which they deserve to be compensated.
To this end, an independently operated compensation scheme will be established to process and manage claims associated with previous treatment delivered by Dr Bran. SHG has therefore engaged an external law firm with significant experience in these matters to develop and manage the scheme, which will be operated entirely independent of SHG.
What is a compensation scheme?
A compensation scheme is a process for resolving potential claims away from court: it is a form of alternative dispute resolution. These are well-established in legal systems and are often used in circumstances such as these.
Why are SHG setting up this scheme?
It is recognised that many former patients of Dr Bran may be concerned about care they received. Some of these patients may wish to make a claim for medical negligence.
People potentially making claims based on the care they received by Dr Bran may seek compensation. We believe that setting up a specific compensation scheme devoted to review and decide those claims, along with deciding levels of compensation to be awarded, is a sensible approach by a responsible government.
In providing for a dedicated, experienced and independent team to deal with claims, it is hoped that claimants are able to get justice and achieve a fair outcome in the most cost and time effective, and least stressful, way possible.
This also means that claimants will not need a lawyer to access the scheme, although they can engage their own legal representatives at their own cost if they want to.
Claimants will still have the option of bringing a claim through the court system, but this can be costly, time-consuming and stressful. By setting up an independently managed compensation scheme, claimants will now have an alternative to litigation, which should prove more cost-effective for them, and may result in compensation going to them rather than on legal fees.
When will the scheme be established and accessible for claimants?
This is being developed by the chosen UK law firm, at arms’ length from SHG and in collaboration with claimants’ legal representatives. This means that we can’t give a firm timeline at this stage. However, we want the scheme to be established and up and running as soon as possible and expect this to be set up within weeks rather than months.
Doing so will give claimants confidence in how to proceed and what the best option for them might be.